Mini-Reviews from Around the Bowl: 08/11/2016
Get your fix of kix and lix. This week we have Dakhma, Deadlock, Henosis, Voidspawn, The Foreshadowing, Black Crown Initiate, Diabolizer, Messa, Deviant Process and Bersærk.
“Sweet, new Dakhma,” you’re probably thinking to yourself. Sorry pal. This isn’t the vicious two-man grind band from San Fran, nor is it the brutish occult band from Switzerland. No, this Dakhma is the snarling black/grind/crust band from Michigan. Naming gaffes aside, this EP, the second from the young band, absolutely rrrrriiiipppps. Blackened riffs run amok within rivers of tape hiss and mudslide blast beats, but what’s most intriguing is the almost triumphant splendor of the band’s tone. While vocalist Claire shrieks with almost self-harming abandon, guitarist Derek tortures his instrument to ring out just enough melody within the crust to give the tunes a sense of grandeur and scope that you wouldn’t expect from a release with such a DIY feel. It’s evident there’s a human heart between the two sides of this nearly 40-minute EP, one that grants the music within character and quality so often missing from this genre. — W.
Germany’s Deadlock put out one of my favorite albums of all-time, 2007’s Wolves. The band deftly blended technicality with aggression, leading to memorable hooks and catchy choruses. Then, the wheels kind of fell off. After some musical experimentation and shifting lineups, Deadlock in 2016 looks quite different from Deadlock in 2006. Gone are both male vocalist Joe Prem and female vocalist Sabine Scherer as well as several other members. Former bassist John Gahlert took over harsh vocal duties in 2011, and Margie Gerlitz took over clean vocals this year. Despite the changes, Deadlock have managed to produce an album that can please longtime fans as well as bring in new ones. Hybris straddles the line between melodic death metal and standard metalcore. The band shines when they delve into melody, whether it be through solos or Gerlitz’s soothing vocals. This album is for those that want to mosh around or sing along in the car. It might not blow you away, but it will stick with you. RIYL: Raunchy, Hatesphere, Eyes Set to Kill — 365.
Henosis – Unleash the Ophidian Essence from the Reverse of Creation
Independent | August 6th, 2016
I can’t remember whether it was the alluring album cover or the familiar combination of the words “ophidian” and “henosis”, but I’m damn glad I spent a minute investigating this under the radar release from last week. This is one beastly debut album. This black/death trio hailing from Chile didn’t just tick all the boxes, they coated the page in blood and set it ablaze, fanning the flames until merely ash remained. When they’re not blasting your face off with tremolo filth straight from the underworld (which isn’t often), Henosis show commendable composure; besetting the listener with very deliberate and ominous layers of riffing that point toward the impending doom of all things. Blending the best of both the Norweigan and American approaches to death metal vocals, the cataclysmic roaring commands the authority usually reserved for genre stalwarts. Utilising the hefty clout of death metal, the aphotic mood of black metal, and the savage intensity of war metal, this album could be the dark horse that tramples in through your peripheral vision and kicks your fucking teeth clean out. – Lacertilian.
Voidspawn – Pyrrhic
Independent | July 30th, 2016
“The Void is a cold, physical manifestation of darkness that grows from the absence of light.” This is how Voidspawn describes themselves on bandcamp. If you don’t already love them based off that description, let me inform you that this band is a demonic mixture of riffs and atmosphere that you don’t want to miss. Also their name is Voidspawn, how awesome is that? This is basically what would happen if Chthe’ilist, Demilich and Gorguts decided to spawn a child. You know, before that child devoured the universe whole obviously. — Bauer.
Prepare your rain-soaked windows and box of tissues. Italian gothic doom metallers The Foreshadowing bring feelings of melancholia and ennui full force on their latest release. While many similar gloom-and-doom bands come to mind when listening to the album, Seven Heads Ten Horns doesn’t fall into the usual “woe is me” cycle of depression. Indeed, the songs are mournful and emotionally crushing, but the songs never feel bogged down with dismal misery. The mellifluous vocals of Marco Benevento complement the tone and pacing of the instruments, working together as one to transport the listener to a world of grey sentiments and regrets. Seven Heads Ten Horns is a good listen, start to finish…just as long as you’re ready to feel things again. RIYL: Insomium, Moonspell, Katatonia — 365.
As has been discussed here before, applying the term “progressive” to most slighlty left-of-center metal has changed the original meaning of the term to something that’s pretty predictable and somewhat standardized. But this shouldn’t be a negative thing as long as the music is good, which is the case with Black Crown Initiate‘s sophomore effort. Selves We Cannot Forgive weaves from the blackened Cynic tones of opener “For Red Cloud” to the Opeth-meets-Alice in Chains of closer “Vicious Lives”, and is highly entertaining at that. Of note is a particularly tasty guitar solo on “Again,” laid down by master Wes Hauch (freshly incorporated into the band). Don’t skip this if you enjoyed The Wreckage of Stars or are just a fan of modern progressive metal in general. Check out the title track here. — Moshito.
Turkey’s Diabolizer feature members of the killer bands Engulfed and Burial Invocation and have wasted absolutely no time showing both their capability and intent with their debut EP Apokalypse. Having dusted off most of the filth associated with their other bands, Apokalypse offers a solid platform between the techincal side of things and the relentless buzzsaw of punishment you’ll find on most modern European death metal releases. With riffs for days, vocals not too dissimilar to Travis Ryan‘s (minus the Gollum-esque shrieks) and pummelling percussion, these 7 tracks just don’t let up. Throw in a couple of solos replete with crazy bar vibrato theatrics, and you’re left with a demon as agile as it is angry. RIYL: Amputory, Iskra, Gutter Instinct — Lacertilian.
I’m not normally one to listen to doom metal, but for whatever reason this album has completely captivated me. Excellent riffs and sexy occult vocals abound. Fantastic solos accentuate an already stellar album that never overstays its welcome. The production on this album is just so warm and fuzzy, and I love it. All in all it’s an extremely captivating package that will keep you coming back for more. It may even get a spot in my coveted top 10 later this year. If you like your music slow and heavy and you haven’t listened to this album you need to check your shit because it’s broken. — Bauer.
Let it be known that I am a total pleb for having slept on this for so long. Paroxysm is easily one of the most interesting, creative, and intelligent tech death albums released this year. It’s progressive without being pretentious, and it keeps the noodling to a minimum and the riffing to a maximum. It’s surprisingly easy to listen to in spite of its complexity, due largely to how well the band is able to build off of singular ideas. It’s fast, it’s intense, it’s heavy, and it’s not hard to follow. This is a must-have for any fan of the genre, from the seasoned veterans to the most casual of tech-heads. [As per usual, Spear is incredibly right. -M.O.] — Spear.
Probably best described as Progressive Stoner Rock, Bersærk’s debut LP walks a fine line and fills a gap I never knew I needed. The crunchy and upbeat guitar tone keeps the album an arm’s length away from being doom, and while the riffs are never dull, there is also not a whole lot of variation. I can see the vocals being divisive, but I don’t think they could be more perfect with their explosive and cutting quality. All the lyrics are in danish, so I have no idea what he’s talking about, but that may be a benefit rather than hindrance. As google translate tells me their artist statement says, Bersærk just wants us to “live and lead it back to the days when a man was a man, a woman was ready to fight, and Berserk was something you went together.” Despite a few picky criticisms, I really enjoy this debut. FFO: Red Fang, Clutch — Joaquin Stick.